I’ve used this point before but remains as true now as when Styne & Sondheim’s musical, Gypsy, debuted 60 years ago: You Gotta Get A Gimmick. In this particular case, the gimmick is a game that can be played in the dark. It’s not a completely unique gimmick, but the list of games that use it is exceptionally short. (I can only think of one off the top of my head, which was also created in Quebec interestingly enough)
One of the nice things about Galaxies, is that you don’t HAVE to play in the dark. You can, and doing so drastically improves both the theme and the experience, but it’s not required. Gameplay is fairly simple, a player can either draft marbles (Stars) and place them in rows (Constellations) on the center tray (The Multiverse) or they can take (Harvest) a row of marble and place them on their own tray (Reactor). The game ends when any player manages to fill all the spaces in their tray. Once you get the hang of the base game, you can add in additional hidden objectives, or completely change how the game is played by adding in different expansion sets.
The central hub of the game is The Multiverse tray. Beyond being central to gameplay, it’s also the power hub of the game. Pop in a 9-volt battery (not included, due to shipping laws) and the base glows, and light shines up through the holes that Stars get placed in allowing them to glow as well. Each player’s reactor tray plugs into The Multiverse and draws power from it, meaning you only need the one battery, and light up in the same way. Between The Multiverse and Reactors, there is enough light for most people to easily see the other players around the table, to see the marbles player drafts, and to read the objective cards if you’re using them.
I don’t know what the box is like, and I wouldn’t trust playing this in the rain, but it really seems to be an ideal camping game. When it hits shelves next summer, I’m tempted to go camping just to play it out there.
Pledge levels start at $49 (CAD) for the core game. $89 adds four expansions to the game. $119 gets the Odyssey Edition, which contains the four expansions, the 5th player “Black Hole” expansion, some other upgraded components, and a new Campaign Mode that takes the normal 15-20 minute play time and boosts it up to around 120 mins.
Shipping is not particularly cheap, but they have detailed estimates and Sphere Games is covering part of the shipping themselves. In addition they have a regional stretch goal for backers in Australia and New Zeland to drastically reduce that shipping if there are enough backers.
The gameplay looks solid and Sphere Games’ last offering, Mini Divercity, is still a family favourite around my household. I’m not going lie, as solid as this game looks, I like the gimmick.